Residents of Ekwuru community, 100 Foot Road between Okpuno-Uzodike and Okpuno-Egbu, Nnewi, Anambra State are living in perpetual fear over a dreaded erosion site that has already destroyed more than fifty buildings in the area.
Palace Secretary of Uruagu community leader under whose domain the problem is raging, Prince Obi Nwabufo told our reporter that the ecological problem has been there for the past 30 years with the erosion eating the site slowly but steadily until now that it has swallowed series of buildings and some lives lost.
“Most of our people have lost their residential houses, farmlands and other belongings to the erosion menace. That you were told over 50 buildings have been destroyed by the erosion is not an exaggeration counting from when the problem started. It is more than that. The erosion has been there for over 30 years and despite several appeals made to the government nothing has been done about it. It has been all promises. All the buildings around there are all gone and many are still under threat. Government should do something about it and urgently, too before we become internally displaced since it is advancing to sack us. We are begging,” Prince Nwabufo said.
One of the elders of the community, Innocent Azubuike said he returned from the North East of Nigeria to start life afresh after his livelihood had been devastated by the Boko Haram insurgents only to discover that all his farm lands had been washed away by the erosion.
Newson9ja learnt that a culvert was built around the site during President Ibrahim Babangida’s military regime which was the government presence that could be found around the erosion site since it started. And obviously the erosion is fast moving towards the popular multibillionaire Nkwo Nnewi motorcycles market. The market is only a f
ew metres away from the site. A couple of residential buildings were seen helplessly standing around the edges of the erosion site which may not survive another round of rainy season.
A school proprietor, Mr Ibenezim Stephen whose school is almost consumed by the erosion menace explained that it was during President Babangida’s administration through the then Finance Minister, Chief Chu Okongwu that the erosion was controlled by an engineering company.
“After the attempt to control it that time, people started excavating sand, iron and other scraps at the site and that continued without being checked. We have complained to local, State and Federal governments about what is happening there, yet non of them has come to our rescue while the erosion continues to eat deep down the site,” he complained.
Mr Stephen noted that the community members had before it got out of their control spent a lot of money trying to fight it, planting giant bamboo trees, all to no avail. He said that each time it rained people living around the site would be afraid of the unknown
“Not quite long ago, two brothers going to market fell into the erosion gully and died. There was a case of another pregnant woman who fell into the site with her bike and died. We are not talking about the number of buildings already destroyed and the occupants displaced and devastated. The erosion has already caused a lot of havoc,” he recounted.
Mr Stephen appealed to the Federal Ministry of Works and Anambra State Ministry of Environment to come and at least verify the cry of the community members before it becomes too late.